It’s 5 AM. I wake up cold, since I seem to always be cold. Even as I sit in my office in the middle of a summer heatwave, I have a jacket on.
Today it is fall, and outside the temperature is in the low 40’s here in Utah.
I rip off the covers of my warm bed, bolt upright, and make my way to the backdoor: the cold plunge awaits!
Unclipping the cover, folding it back, the icy water seems to grin back at me, knowing it has the upper hand.
I can still turn back, wait another day, talk myself out of insanity, or even postpone this until the sun comes up and warms the temperature outside to lessen the shock of slipping into the freezing water.
Instead, I take off my robe, turn on the music (thank you, Tame Impala for “Let It Happen” and “One More Year”), as I spend a few minutes breathing as deep as possible and getting my mind right, I start the stopwatch on my phone, and quickly slide into the terrifying shock that is the cold plunge.
It’s the equivalent of jumping off a cliff –
You lose your breath first.
Breathing is the hardest part.
It reminds me of the lamaze classes we took when my wife was first pregnant 18 years ago with our first.
You breathe through the pain.
This requires some seriously loud, deep, intentional breaths just to survive the first 10-30 seconds.
Fight or flight panic is rampant.
Jump out or stay in?
Focus. Consider the benefit, not the horror your body is experiencing.
Feet burning from freezing, slithering down to my neck and eventually dunking my head all the way under…this is actually insane.
And I LOVE it.
Suddenly a calm sets in.
This is invigorating!
This is liberating!
This is the hardest thing I’ll do all day and I already “ate that frog”, as Brian Tracy famously wrote.
I check my phone, and see I’ve lasted somehow over 3 minutes…
Ouch. But – YES! Shooting for 4 minutes now. Then 5.
I smile in relief – I’ve got this.
Why subject myself to the cold plunge?
Historically this is a practice done by the brave, adventurous, the crazy men of the north, the Vikings, the Japanese, the Greeks and Romans.
Today, popularized by Wim Hof, this is the “new way” to health, shocking the system, freaking out the body, while calming the mind.
Many have jumped on the trend, and I’m happy to be in the minority who has invested and continued to brave such absurdity on a consistent and faithful basis.
I never feel better about myself, nor more energized, than when I do this very practice.
I’ve never felt anything like it.
No 75 cups of caffeine, no mountain high, no standing ovation from thousands of people can get this feeling out of you.
It’s awful to execute, and wonderfully exciting once accomplished.
My King Kool Plunge is kept between 53-55 degrees. I have found if it’s 37-39 degrees, as some suggest it should be, I can’t last 30 seconds. The 40’s is quite painful as well. To get the benefits you need is to be in long enough to suffer, but not so long you get frostbite. 55 degrees is perfect for now, as we work towards getting it lower over time.
I stand up, my joints frozen and creaking, stepping out into the cold air of morning.
Instead of running to the hot tub, which is only 2 feet away, I do air squats, lunges, and dance around, as my body is no longer subject to the cold air outside, feeling nothing of it, and I need to warm up naturally.
I towel off simply to not drip indoors, since you can’t feel that you are getting dry.
Walking inside I check the mirror and see the tightness of my skin, now pink, even purple, as the muscles show through for the only time since my teenage years.
I have kept The Promise to myself this day.
I didn’t have to decide it upon waking, warm and cozy in bed, my wife asleep next to me, children still dreaming upstairs before school begins, whether I should engage in this practice of pushing myself to do something I absolutely am terrified to face but know is best for me.
I have now done this nearly every morning since it’s purchase, after showering for 3 years in the cold, I’m still not even used to any of it.
It’s a Promise.
And I accomplished a hard thing to start the day.
It’s time to get to work.
And I proceed to have the best day I’ve ever had…at least since the last time I did the cold plunge.
Enjoy SUBSCRIBING to my NEW YouTube Channel when you’re ready to improve upon Your Leadership Promise!
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Mentor
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach The Promise
- Author of “The Promise To The One”